Friday, December 30, 2011

Interview with Tammy Blackwell

Today we’re going to do something a little different, in what I hope will be the first of many such occasions. So I give to you the first ever Wading Through Electronic Ink author interview with our special guest, Tammy Blackwell!

Most of you will know Tammy as the author who wrote Destiny Binds, which I know you all immediately purchased based on my rave review. If you didn’t, you can do so now and still have a little bit of time before the sequel, Time Mends, is released. But don’t worry fans who followed my advice and already read the book because Time Mends should be out any day now. And if you’re dying for a sneak peek, Tammy has some teasers up on her website, along with the absolutely fantastic cover art.

But you don’t want to listen to me babble on (Well, maybe you do. After all, you are reading a blog that features me rambling on almost exclusively.) You want to hear from the brilliant mind behind the Timber Wolves trilogy. And so, without further ado, I give you Tammy Blackwell!

Where did you get the idea for the Timber Wolves trilogy?

Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear. (Triple bonus points to anyone who gets the reference!)

Okay, honest answer...

You know how some writers say their characters talk to them? Well, I’m not that crazy. Instead I have random scenes and bits of dialogue come to me during the 90-99% of the day when my mind is wandering. See, much more sane than having characters speak to you, don’t you think?

Anyway, Destiny Binds started with a scene and a line of dialogue. The scene was a cold, wet human girl tucked in a warm bed after staying up all night to try to protect a werewolf. The werewolf in question is cuddled around her, keeping her warm, while his grouchy brother makes breakfast in the other room. The line of dialogue was, “I said you were my destiny, not that I’m yours. I’ve never fooled myself into believing I could keep you.” From there, Scout and Alex were born.

What made you decide to write a young adult novel?

There is something unique and engrossing about the teenage experience. I love how it’s that time in a person’s life when everything is still fresh and new, and emotions are like this crazy, uncontrollable thing clawing at your insides. I love the awkwardness and cluelessness of it. And, if we’re being perfectly honest here, I don’t really feel like I’ve progressed far beyond that point, which is probably why I’ve always loved YA books.

I wrote this book in particular because I was having trouble finding the teens I work with in the YA books I was reading. Where were the smart, geeky kids living in the rural South? It seemed like all the cool kids lived in New York and the small town kids were more stereotypes, always loving horses or working on a farm. I wanted to write an enjoyable book about the kind of teens I knew existed.

Who are your favorite authors to read? What authors do you feel have most influenced you work?

Ahhhh! There are too many!

Teen voice wise, I love John Green (of course), Maureen Johnson, and Stephanie Perkins. For world building I’m a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and Kelley Armstrong, the Queen of Urban Fantasy World Building. And for really good books about werewolves and shifters, I have to go with adult writers Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. And, of course, Harper Lee has to be mentioned. (Hello, Scout!)

What aspects of your books are based on your own life experiences?

Like Scout, I once broke my butt.

What do you do when you are not writing about the adventures of teen shifters?

I am a Young Adult Services Coordinator (that’s a YA Librarian who hasn’t finished her MLIS) for a library system in Kentucky. Between that, writing, reading, and hanging out with my 15 month old niece, I don’t really have time for much else, expect for the occasional night’s sleep.

What made you decide to self-publish Destiny Binds?

I briefly tried to go the traditional publishing route, but after some initial promising interest, I realized that wasn’t going to pan out because of the over-stuffed YA supernatural market. Which was okay by me, since I wasn’t sure I wanted that much responsibility anyway. But I went ahead and self-pubbed because I had written it for my library kids and wanted them to be able to own a book written for them. I honestly didn’t expect much of anyone else to read it.

Do you think the increasing ease with which authors can self-publish their e-books is going to change how people view books and the publishing industry?

I think the book/publishing world is changing rapidly and none of us are really sure where it’s going or what will happen once we get there. I do think (hope) the image of self-published authors will change and gain some validity, but it’s going to be difficult to get the world as a whole to change their way of thinking about what constitutes a “real” book.

What advice would you give to authors looking to self-publish their own work?

Revise until your eyes bleed, and then revise some more. It always pains me to pick up a self-published book that has lots of promise but doesn’t fully deliver because of a lack of editing and proofreading. The world will wait for you to take an extra month or two to get it right. I promise if you put in the extra effort, it will show.

(BTW, I’m now quite certain there are a bakoozle of typos and errors in my answers simply because I’ve made a big deal out of proofing everything you write.)

If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

Time manipulation. It is the ultimate power. With it, you’re unstoppable! Someone trying to shoot you? Freeze time and move out of the way! Need to get across time in a flash? Stop the clock and get there before the bad guy can take his next breath! And with time manipulation you’ll always have 24 usable hours in every day to get stuff accomplished, whether it’s writing a novel or defeating evil.

What one question do you wish that I had asked you but did not? (Question and answer please)

What fictional world would you want to live in?

Excellent question, Elizabeth! *cheeky grin*

I know most people would say Harry Potter’s world here, but since I choose to believe J.K. Rowling wrote nonfiction accounts of British history, I’m going to go with something else. I’m tempted to pick a steampunk world, but most of my favorites aren’t really places someone would willingly live. (Way too many zombies and nanobots and society rules for me.) I need magic, but I also need happiness, pretty dresses, and Prince Charming. And there is only one place where you can find all that... Disneyland! *imagines self in a reverse Enchanted-type plot* *is very happy*


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